Luis Santana - Photographer


I started out as a firefighter, then a paramedic. Later on, I moved into freelance photography, taking pictures for local news agencies. That led to a career change after I caught the attention of photo editors at the then-St. Petersburg Times. I joined the staff on June 6, 2006 (and no, I’m not superstitious about all those 6s). I became one of the first journalists in the area to use drones, and now, that work has been celebrated and seen around the world. I specialize in covering breaking news, from the ground and in the air. Protests and parades. Hurricanes and wildfires. Sinkholes and speeding cars. I also live-stream events for a growing digital audience. I’m a husband, a father of three and a dog dad.

  1. St. Petersburg police officers stood between two groups Saturday in downtown. "Movement St. Pete," was a gathering of the St. Pete Peace Protest movement, religious leaders and civil rights leaders who held a vigil and silent march against white supremacy. Counter-protesters bearing American flags, "thin blue line" flags and gear in support of President Donald Trump demonstrated in opposition.
  2. Rapper Moneybagg Yo performed to a sold out crowd of hundreds at the Cuban Club on Saturday night.
  3. President Donald Trump gives a news conference at Belleair's Pelican Golf Club Friday. On Sunday, a member of the press who covered the event reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus.
  4. A Tampa police officer was shot and wounded late Thursday during what authorities call a shooting rampage that took place across the city of Tampa and Hillsborough County. Three people total suffered non life-threatening injuries and the shooter was captured. The officer was shot in the area of Hillsborough Avenue and N 43rd Street.
  5. A Tampa police officer attempts to detain a protester as officers break up a march blocking traffic on N Dale Mabry Highway on Saturday.
  6. There was a harrowing altercation between a driver and protesters during Saturday evening's march. One protester was taken into custody and a driver who tried to go through the crowd was allowed to leave by police.
  7. Local artists collaborate on painting a Black Lives Matter street mural in front of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum, 2240 9th Ave. South in St. Petersburg on Thursday, June 18, 2020. Woodson Museum executive director, Terri Lipsey-Scott contacted St. Petersburg City Council member, Lisa Wheeler-Bowman with the idea who in turn contacted Wayne Atherholt with the city's Cultural Affairs department who also liked the idea. Atherholt contact John Collins with the St Pete Artist Alliance which runs the Shine Mural project and got his team working to find artists willing to participate. 16 artists are responsible for painting 1 letter each of the phrase.  The mural will be ready when the city of St Pete kicks of its Juneteenth celebrations on Friday morning.
  8. Demonstrators arrive for one of two daily marches in protest of police brutality and racism in the wake of George Floyd's death, on Tuesday, June 16, 2020 in St. Petersburg.
  9. In St. Petersburg, marchers demonstrated Saturday against police brutality and racism in the afternoon and at night.
  10. Florida Highway Patrol block the intersection of Tyler Street and Ashley Drive as protestors march past Saturday, June 6, 2020 in Tampa.
  11. Zoey Triplett, 9, left, cuddles with her mother, Amy Triplett, 49, center, of Safety Harbor, while attending a peaceful protest organized by the Bless Up organization, on Friday, June 5, 2020, at Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater. At right is Byron Triplett, 53, Zoey's father and Amy's husband.
  12. Protestors are seen along Bayshore Boulevard as they march through Tampa Thursday, June 4, 2020.